Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP)
"Government Documents" is a term often used to refer to any sort of material produced by a goverment (legal, legislative, statistical data, books and reports, research studies, consumer guides, archival material) in any format (electronic, print, microform).
Most of the material in the Federal Documents Collection was received through the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP). The collection includes over 1 million publications in paper, microfiche and electronic formats.
Library Catalog Limitations
Around one-third of the federal government hardcopy collection onsite at Perkins is not represented at all in the library catalog (mostly material published prior to 1976). This includes some important historical texts and statistical compilations.
You need to use one of the electronic or paper indexes (at right) to find a call number. You can then:
- first, check the library catalog to see if it's in there. If not,
- check the legacy shelflist (the card catalog file on the 2nd floor that is in order by SuDoc call nubmber) to see if we ever got it and which issues we received, or
- just look on the shelf to see if it's there, or
- check with the Federal Documents Librarian.
Accessing Government Information
Access Points for Recent Government Information
- The Library Catalog provides links to many online government publications as well as to traditional hard-copy publications here in the library.
- FDsys: The primary electronic access point for current and recent US federal government publications, from the Government Publishing Office (GPO).
- Consumer and popular information: USA.gov
Includes A-Z Index of U.S. Government Agencies.
- Legislative information (US federal): Congress.gov
Has links to congressional committee websites. Perkins' Legislative Process research guide adds insight. Congress.gov supersedes the Library of Congress's THOMAS website. The Popular Name Tool provides official legal ciations for well-known U.S. laws.
- Scientific information: Science.gov
Searches for across many government agencies.
- Statistical data: FedStats is a gateway to statistical portals at the websites of many federal agencies. Data.gov is a repository of digital datasets produced by federal government agencies.
Historical Publications Online (selected sources)
- ProQuest Congressional [and Executive Branch] Publications Full text of most US Congressional titles 1789-present as well as Executive Branch publications through 1932. Congressional Record since 1985. Paper indexes are also available: Executive Branch.
- U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1994 Text of House and Senate Reports and Documents (and Journals 1953-1974); newer at FDsys
Some of the tools listed provide access to recent information and some provide either access or indexing to historical publications, archival information (unpublished records of government agencies and declassified documents), technical reports (quasi-governmental reports prepared by contractors), and statistical data.
Many of the databases listed are subscription services available only to Duke University users.
- Recommended Databases for U.S. Federal Documents: This describes many other electronic access points for current as well as historical government publications and for unpublished archival material from the federal government.
- Recommended Databases for Data/Statistics: Many of these sources contain electronic data collected by federal government agencies. Others include data from Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs).
- Paper indexes: Many historic executive branch agency publications, particularly from 1933~1995, aren't accessible online and some are not even indexed by any of the electronic sources. A comprehensive search should include the following paper indexes in the Perkins Reference Collection on the 1st floor.
- Cumulative title index to United States public documents, 1789-1976.
Located in Perkins Reference at Z 1223 .L478 1979
Good for tracking down citations from footnotes, bibliographies, etc., especially for post-1932 f executive branch documents that we don't have digitally.